Film history

67 years ago today, Pakistanis lined up to see the first film made in their new nation

'Teri Yaad' heralded the birth of a new film industry: Lollywood.

August 7, 1948: Eid-ul-Fitr in Pakistan, and the day of the release of Teri Yaad, the first movie to be made in the new nation formed by Partition.

Teri Yaad was released at the Parbhat theatre (previously known as the Empire) on McLeod Road in Lahore, where it ran for five weeks. The movie’s poor production values and technical ineptness were all the more apparent when compared with the glossiness of Indian films, which continued to be released in Pakistan after 1947. If Teri Yaad is still remembered, it is only because it heralded the birth of a new film industry in the subcontinent, one that in its peak in the 1970s produced more than a 100 films a year.

Lahore had long been the filmmaking centre for Hindustani and Punjabi films, but its two premier studios – Shorey Studios and Pancholi Pictures – were both owned by Hindus. Roop K Shorey and Dalsukh Pancholi moved to India during Partition. Their studios were damaged in the ensuing riots. It was a miracle Teri Yaad got made in the first place.

Teri Yaad is the story of a wealthy man who leaves his money to his daughter when he dies. She is killed by one of his enemies. Her mother raises an orphaned girl as her daughter. The girl falls in love with the villain’s son. After several reels of drama and song (10 in all), the widow gets her revenge and eventually the lovers are united.

Cultural landmark

The landmark film was produced by Dewan Sardari Lal and directed by Dawood Chand, a prominent filmmaker whose credits had included Paraye Bas Mein (1946) and Arsi (1947). The male lead was played by Nasir Khan, the younger brother of Dilip Kumar. Nasir Khan had previously appeared in Mazdoor (1945) and Shehnai (1947) and migrated to Pakistan to try his luck there. Khan later appeared in another Pakistani film, Shahida (1949), and also distributed four of his more successful brother’s films in Pakistan, including Mela (1948). However, scandal followed: Nasir Khan allegedly had an affair with a woman from an orthodox Punjabi family, who ensured his return to India.

Appearing with Nasir Khan and singing her own songs, including the title track Teri Yaad Aye O Piya Bulaye, was Asha Posley. She had appeared in films in Lahore before 1947. Her father, Inayat Ali Nath, composed the score for Teri Yaad.

Posley’s vocal abilities held her in good stead when her acting career failed to take off. She was reduced to appearing in vamp parts and supporting roles, often paired with the popular Pakistani screen comedian Nazar, but she continued to sing and also appeared on the radio and the stage.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.